It’s been a full and active few months for us on your UUCC staff. We’ve been reconnecting following Paige’s return from sabbatical; implementing fall programming; celebrating a 20th ministerial anniversary; tending to personal and family needs; and navigating the expected and unexpected challenges of our staffing reconfiguration, with fewer individual staff members and redistributed responsibilities among us.
Pausing this week for a holiday break, we are noticing specific things in our lives that spark gratitude. We offer some of those reflections for you here, hoping that you, too, are experiencing gratitude in your life.
Recently, I received a text message out of the blue from a good friend that I had been out of touch with over the last several weeks. The text read, “I adore you and I hope life is being kind to you.” A few weeks prior to that, I received an email from a UUCC congregant generously letting me off the hook for my delayed response to their message. As these small moments of grace appear in my inboxes, I have become deeply aware of their ability to ease my angst, lighten my mood and remind me to take a deep breath. During this season, I am especially grateful for every small moment of grace and for those who bring them to my inboxes. — Kelli D.
Immense gratitude this season of Thanksgiving to the wonderful UUCC Chalice Choir. For their ability to adapt and quick-study an enormous variety of choral music that so meaningfully contributes to, and elevates Sunday morning worship – polishing notes, phrasing/expression, rhythm, dynamics, breaths, and sometimes foreign languages. For the many ways in which they model Beloved Community and the “nurture of each other’s hearts and spirits”, providing rides, meals and other needs – including enlarging scores for greater visual accessibility. And special mention to the less visible volunteers contained within: helping out with librarian duties, providing local advertising and refreshments for Chalice concerts, creating and proofing audio tracks for parts-learning, and recording pronunciation tracks for languages. And this is just a sampling of the many details and tasks needed to make music at UUCC. It takes a village, as they say, and this is definitely one of the best! — Michael A.
Several months ago, I found a new therapist; the best therapist I’ve ever had. For that alone, I’m extremely grateful. I am grateful to have found someone that can meet me with emotional depth, make me feel understood, and cultivate a space rooted in trust and psychological safety for me to explore and grow. What a gift. In our first session, I walked away with a recommendation to try journaling about gratitude for parts of myself that I don’t like. I immediately felt this was both an interesting and wise recommendation, and also immediately imagined how awkward and hard it might be at first. Sure enough, in my first attempts I was sarcastic and silly, trying to shake out the awkwardness and my avoidant tendencies before really trying. It’s weird to try to write about why I’m grateful that I can be judgmental, ya know!? With time, though, this practice has helped me connect with the idea that we all have so many inner parts — lovely and not-so-lovely — and they all serve a purpose. Shunning, denying, or shaming any of them doesn’t make them disappear. They’re there for a reason. Better to stay curious and open to all parts, with gratitude, for the sake of growth. — Sara D.
“This is a prayer I came up with walking through the woods, meditating. I stopped and looked up and these words just came to me.” — Hannah N.
The heavens, the trees, the thankful breeze
The heavens, the trees, the sky, and the leaves
The heavens above, the leaves on the ground, the birds in the air, and every little sound
I give thanks.
One Sunday morning years ago, my sister Emilie and I sat next to each other in church. We were middle schoolers who took ourselves way too seriously. We typically sat at attention during church, singing all the songs and even taking notes during sermons. But this Sunday, soon after the sermon began, we started giggling. Not in response to a whispered joke or an amusing observation. But one of us began giggling, the other one joined in, it turned into a full-on laughing fit, and we could not stop. No matter how many stern glances our mom shot our way, no matter how many gasps for breath, no matter how many seconds of repose and containment we managed—one of us would start again, and all hope was lost. If ever you catch me giggling quietly to myself, it’s probably because I’m remembering that Sunday morning in church.
Laughing is fun. Laughing with people you love is even better. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful generally for laughter—for living in a world full of delights, for a perspective that enables me to appreciate moments of levity—and specifically, for a partner and friends and family* who bring laughter to my life.
* Case in point: My dear father regularly attempts to bless the meal when we are gathered for dinner with my sisters and parents. In the past 10 years, we probably haven’t made it through a single mealtime prayer without stifled giggles turning into snorts of laughter. — Valerie H.
Freshly baked cakes from J’s oven. Hand-painted notecards from B’s collection. A hydrostone vase from S’s studio. A plate of cookies from I’s kitchen. Poetry expressing S’s heartache. Flowers from L’s garden. All of these UUCC creations have blessed my life, my belly, and my spirit in recent weeks. Thank you for sharing your art with us, with me. — Paige
Thank you, UUCC, for the ways that you show up and remind us that the work we do among you is meaningful work.
Hannah, Kelli, Michael, Paige, Sara, and Valerie